As a special 60th birthday present for the man who raced the Porsche 956 to victory in Le Mans.
In 1985, Paolo Barilla won the 24 Hours of Le Mans in a Porsche 956. Over 35 years later, the former Italian racing driver has collaborated with Porsche Exclusive Manufaktur to design a unique Porsche 911 GT3 inspired by the legendary Le Mans-winning car for his 60th birthday.
Reimagining the striped design of the 956 race car, the bespoke 911 GT3 is finished in Summer Yellow, white and black, with the racing number 7 adorning the hood and doors. The front apron and headlight surrounds are also painted in Summer Yellow and the center lock wheels are painted white at the front and gold at the back as a nod to the race car's white aeroblades. The side plates on the rear spoiler are also redesigned without sacrificing the 911 GT3's aerodynamics.
As a finishing touch for the exterior, "PB 60" lettering adorns the sides representing Barilla's initials and age with graphics inspired by the original Le Mans car's sponsor.
Inside, the door entry guards and the yellow trim on the passenger-side dashboard feature a custom logo combining the type code 956, the "Le Mans 1985" logo, and a silhouette of the racing car. This logo and an overhead diagram of the 1985 circuit are also embroidered in the headrests. Another interior highlight is a custom gear lever reminiscent of the magnesium ball in the 956 racing car. The top section was milled from an aluminum block and the surface was sanded.
In total, the Le Mans-inspired Porsche 911 GT3 took three years to complete from initial sketches to the finished build. Initially, development was based on the 991-generation GT3 as the 992 car was still in development.
One of the biggest challenges was transferring the graphic design from the flat and square race car to the more curvaceous 911. "Many times in this project we would have had good reason to say 'It's not going to work' or 'It's too complicated,'" said Philipp Setter, Head of Sonderwunsch Customer Consultation at Porsche Exclusive Manufaktur.
"Once we decided to take on the challenge, we pushed the boundaries and were able to achieve a lot. With his clear vision and grasp of tight schedules and decision-making, Paolo Barilla was the right client and project manager for this ambitious project."
As part of Porsche Exclusive's new Sonderwunsch program, Barilla worked closely with the designers as an official project manager to bring his vision to life. He even became an official production employee at Porsche as he flanged the gearbox to the engine with a torque-controlled screw device.
"Authentic experiences like these are ultimately what makes Porsche Porsche," said Setter. "Our customers have generally seen and experienced a lot, but for projects of this size, we always try to open a few more doors that would otherwise be closed, for very good reason."